Hobart Hurricanes 2 for 180 (Short 103*, Fawad 1-25) beat Perth Scorchers 8 for 172 (Marsh 48, Boland 2-29) by 8 runs
D’Arcy Short made the hosts Perth Scorchers pay for a sloppy fielding display, making the most of a string of reprieves to post the slowest century in the history of the Big Bash, but one that served to set up victory for the Hobart Hurricanes by eight runs in front of more than 30,000 on Sunday night. Short was spilled on 21, 38, 53, and 68 in an explosive but charmed knock, striking seven sixes by the end of his innings as he brought up three figures on the final ball that served to produce a total which wound up being just out of reach of a valiant effort led by Mitchell Marsh in pursuit.
The Hurricanes victory was all the more impressive in light of injuries to James Faulkner before the night began and Riley Meredith during the match itself as an understrength bowling unit withstood a late charge from the hosts. The Hurricanes moved up into fifth place with the win while the Scorchers sit in seventh on the BBL points table.
Short’s record long stay
The Hurricanes opener set a new mark for the most deliveries spent at the crease to reach three figures in the history of the Big Bash League, taking 70 balls to do it for his second career ton in the BBL and first since an unbeaten 122 two seasons earlier against the Brisbane Heat. He had some help along the way though, including a pair of key assists from Tim David.
The Singapore international David took four excellent catches and produced a runout in a brilliant fielding display to help knock off Scotland in a thriller at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai this past October, but his fielding on Sunday night was unrecognizable from that occasion. The easiest of the four chances offered by Short was the first one of the night put down by David, who charged in from the sweeper-cover boundary in the fifth over for a skied drive off the bowling of Matt Kelly. But David nearly overran the ball while covering the ground and as he slid to cushion the catching attempt, the ball wound up clanging off his chest instead of his hands and wound up going to ground.
It was Short’s 14th delivery at the time and he continued to struggle for rhythm by the time he was dropped again. Three balls after Liam Livingstone broke the opening stand having Caleb Jewell caught at long-on, Livingstone could not hold onto a sharp one-handed return chance, which pushed Short to 39 off 38 balls.
Short used his feet to strike Ashton Agar over long-on in the 13th for six and a single later in the over took him to a 44-ball fifty. Another tough return chance was put down by Jhye Richardson in his follow-through in the next over before Fawad Ahmed was the last bowler to miss out on claiming Short in the 16th. David could not clasp onto a top-edged sweep at deep backward square for what would have been another double-wicket over after Fawad claimed David Miller with a missed sweep. Short then struck three sixes in his final two overs, including a scoop over fine leg on the final ball of the innings to bring up his ton.
Perth’s Rocky Powerplay
The Scorchers chase was blunted by three wickets in the first 15 balls. Having just struck two boundaries, Livingstone was overambitious in attempting a third in a failed attempt to go across his stumps to scoop Meredith’s 145 kph pace and was bowled for 13 in the second over. Cameron Bancroft’s waft outside off stump in the third gave Scott Boland a wicket. Boland then dropped Marsh on the first delivery to the Scorchers captain but the fumble caromed onto the non-striker’s stumps with Josh Inglis comfortably out of his crease.
However, the Hurricanes early inroads were neutralized somewhat by an injury to Meredith in the fourth over. The fast bowler began clutching at the left side of his ribcage mid over and had to come off the field by the end of it. He never returned, leaving Hurricanes captain Ben McDermott pondering his options to fill in two overs later on.
Marshalling the Fightback
Scorchers captain Marsh kept his side in the hunt with a 75-run partnership alongside Cameron Green. He was content knocking singles while waiting for loose balls to hit for six that rarely came, however. The stand ended when Nathan Ellis pinned Green leg before missing a flick to midwicket for 33. Chris Jordan was promoted to No. 5 but fell three balls later swatting a half-tracker from legspinner Qais Ahmad to Short at long-on.
After a few lusty blows from David, Boland struck in the 16th with a slower ball before Marsh’s stay finally came to an end for 48 with a skied flick to deep midwicket to make it 129 for 7. A late flurry from Richardson made the scorecard more flattering for the Scorchers, who entered the final over needing 29 to win with two wickets in hand and wound up eight runs short.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
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